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Annotated Bibliography

Compiled by Terry Farrell--If you see any errors or omissions please send me e-mail at tfarrell@stetson.edu

An Annotated Bibliography of Scientific Literature on Pigmy Rattlesnakes

  • Allen R, Neill WT. 1950. The pigmy rattlesnake. Florida Wildlife pages 10-11A clear discussion of this snake in Florida with qualitative information on the natural history of the pigmy. The information is generally qualitative and is now somewhat outdated.
  • Anderson, P.K. 1965. The Reptiles of Missouri, University of Missouri Press, Columbia. 330 pp.A state guide with some good information about S. m. streckeri. The author states that "even proportionally, the rattles are very tiny". He lists prey items including 2 Sceloporus undulatus. He found litter sizes of 7 eggs (based on dissection) seven embryos, 3 young (date of birth 8/31/60), and five young (date of birth 9/28/1940, mean offspring length for last two litters 12.68 cm). A more recent discussion of pigmies in Missouri is found in Anderson (1987).
  • Ashton RE Jr. and Ashton PS. 1988. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida: I The Snakes. 2nd edition. Windward Publishing, Inc. Miami, FloridaA detailed treatment of Florida snakes with species accounts, distribution maps (by county), habitat descriptions, and much more. The species account for pigmies gives some basic natural history data which is now rather dated since much has been published since 1988. The state distribution map shows pigmies in almost every Florida county. Those counties without records for pigmies probably indicate a lack of collecting effort not a lack of Sistrurus.
  • Bernardino FS, Dalrymple GH. 1992. Seasonal activity and road mortality of the snakes of the Pa-hay-okee wetlands of Everglades National Parks, USA. Biological Conservation 62:71-75The authors censused snakes on the road in this sections of the Everglades over approximately two years. Sixteen species of snakes were found, with pigmies being the seventh most abundant species (36 pigmies out of 1,172 total snakes)
  • Bishop LA, Farrell TM, May PG. 1996. Sexual dimorphism in a Florida Population of the rattlesnake Sistrurus miliarius. Herpetologica, In PressIn this paper differences between males and females were investigated. There was no dimorphism in weight, SVL, color pattern, or growth rate in the four age groups (neonates, yearlings, 2 year-olds, and snakes three or more years old) of pigmies tested. The only trait investigated that was sexually dimorphic was the length of the tail. In most other rattlesnakes males are larger than females. Field observations indicated that large males were associated with adult females more often than small adult ma les, and that larger females had more offspring than small females. It is likely that the advantages of large body size are similar in both sexes and that therefore no sexual size dimorphism has evolved in S. miliarius.
  • Campbell JA, Armstrong BL. 1979. Geographic variation in the Mexican pigmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus ravus, with the description of a new subspecies. Herpetologica 35:304-317This paper isn't about pigmies but is the best treatment of its Mexican relative.
  • Campbell JA, Lamar, WW. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing Associates (Cornell University Press), Ithaca, NY.The book cover both S. ravus and S. catenatus with maps of their distribution in Mexico. It's loaded with color plates showing almost all New World elapids and viperids.
  • Carpenter CC. 1960. A large brood of western pigmy rattlesnakes. Herpetologica 16:142-143.The author reports on a litter produced by a very large female pigmy (52.5 cm SVL, 220.5 g) collected in Johnston County Oklahoma. She gave birth to 32 offspring on 6 August 1959. The neonates had a mean SVL of 14.4 cm and a mean weight of 2.63 g. The young shed within minutes of breaking free of the egg membrane.
  • Carpenter CC. 1979. A combat ritual between two male pygmy rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius). Copeia 1979:638-642Two male pigmies in captivity (one S. m. barbouri and one S. m. streckeri) engage in combat behavior on November 11. The posture was similar to that seen in larger rattlesnakes, but the pigmies didn't rise about the ground as far as Crot alus. We have never see male-male combat in the field (there are no field reports of combat anywhere in pigmies) and wonder if it occurs in central Florida.
  • Clark, DR. 1963. Variation and sexual dimorphism in a brood of the western pigmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus). Copeia 1963:157-159Clark obtained a gravid female pigmy (SVL=31.7 cm) from Vernon Parish, Louisiana. It fed on mice and a small snake while in captivity. On 9 July she gave birth to five offspring (mean SVL=12.0cm). The author suggests the neonates exhibited dimorphism i n color pattern but this observation was based on only 5 neonates and other authors observing neonates have not commented on dimorphism in color pattern.
  • Chamberlain EB. 1935. Notes on the pygmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius Linnaeus, in South Carolina. Copeia 1935:146-147A short report based on personal observations and specimens at the Charleston Museum. The author discusses the distribution of Sistrurus miliarius in South Carolina (Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Richland). Seasonal activity was also noted with pigmies found year round but with a peak in captures occurring from May to October. Chamberlain also discusses the outcome of two bites by this species (both resulted in local swelling with little or no permanent damage).
  • Cook PM, Rowe MP, Van Devender RW. 1994. Allometric scaling and interspecific differences in the rattling sounds of rattlesnakes. Herpetologica 50:358-368This is the best paper on the rattling sounds of rattlesnakes. The authors found the loudness of the rattle in 21 different species is to a very large degree a function of the size of the first (proximal) free rattle segment .The peak sound frequency dis plays a negative relationship with rattle segment size. Rattle segment size, in turn, follows the same relationship to body size in 17 of the 19 species examined. Crotalus tigris had a rattle that was slightly too large for a given body size compared to other species. Most interestingly, Sistrurus miliarius has a rattle that was far too small for its body size compared to the other species examined. This results in pigmies have very quite and high frequency rattling sounds. The authors suggest that the small size of the rattle in S. miliarius may be due to selection for thin tails so the tail may serve as a more effective caudal lure.
  • Conant R. and Collins JT. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians (Eastern and Central North America). Houghton Mifflin Company, BostonThe only essential book for eastern USA herp lovers. The authors provide color pictures of all three pigmy subspecies, range maps, and some general information as well.
  • Dalrymple GH. 1988. The herpetofauna of long Pine Key, Everglades National Park, in relation to vegetation and hydrology. pages 72-86 in : Management of Amphibians, Reptiles, and Small Mammals in North America. R. Szaro, KE Severson, and DR Patton (eds.). U.S.D.A. Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-166.The author used funnel traps and tar-paper sheet "cover boards" to assess the abundance of herps in several different habitat types on Long Pine Key. Summed over all habitat types, Sistrurus miliarius was the third most commonly captured species ( after Coluber constrictor and Thamnophis sirtalis). Pigmies were captured in all four habitat types (Prairie, Pineland, Hammock, and Disturbed), and were most abundant in the prairie habitat and least abundant in the hammocks.
  • Dalrymple GH, Steiner TM, Nodell RJ, Bernardino FS. 1991. Seasonal activity of the snakes of Long Pine Key, Everglades National Park. Copeia 1991:294-302The authors believe that the subtropical climate of southern Florida has not caused the evolution of major changes in the phenology of these snakes compared to more northern populations.
  • Dalrymple GH, Bernardino FS, Steiner TM, Nodell RJ. 1991. Patterns of species diversity of snake community assemblages, with data on two Everglades snake assemblages. Copeia 1991:517-521This report has data on both the Long Pine Key and Pahayokee regions of the Everglades. The data is based on snakes found on roads. In the Long Pine Key area pigmies were the third most abundant species (behind Coluber constrictor and Thamnoph is sirtalis). Pigmies constituted 271 of the 1782 individuals found.
  • Dixon JR. 1987. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.A state guide showing the range of pigmies in Texas. This book also has a very extensive bibliography on Texas herpetology, but contains no natural history information on this species.
  • Dodd CK, Franz R. 1995. Seasonal abundance and habitat use of selected snakes trapped in xeric and mesic communities of north-central Florida. Catalog of the Florida Museum of Natural History38:43-67The authors used wire-mess funnel traps to access snake abundance in six habitat types in the Katherine Ordway Preserve. Pigmies were the fourth most abundant species caught in the three xeric habitats (high pine forest, open-canopy sand live oak hammock, closed canopy sand oak habitat). Pigmies were most common in the high pine forest (longleaf pine-turkey oak-wiregrass asssemblage). Dodd and Franz caught far fewer pigmies in the mesic hammock habitat and none in the swamp forest and prairie habitats. Pigmies were active throughout the study period (early April to mid November) with a slight peak in captures in the early fall. This was an extensive study with about 40,000 trap nights of effort.
  • Dundee HA, Rossman DA. 1989. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana University Press, Baton Rouge, LA.A state guide with a dot map showing the distribution of pigmies. The authors cited relevant literature and include information on two litters not previously reported on (6 offspring on August 12, 4 young on August 25). They cite Beyer (1900) reporting a female giving birth to 6 young on August 12. They report the pigmies appear most abundant south of New Orleans, but can also be found in the hill county in the north-central part of the state.
  • Ernst CH. 1992. Venomous Reptiles of North America. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.An important volume on venomous snakes (and lizards). The author reviews a huge amount of literature (mostly published before 1990) on venomous species, including pigmy rattlesnakes. The book contains a section on each species found in the U.S.A. and Ca nada. The discussion of pigmies is good, but they are probably not typically active foragers as suggested by Ernst.
  • Farrell TM, May PG, Pilgrim MA. 1995. Reproduction in the rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius barbouri in central Florida. Journal of Herpetology 29:21-27A field study of female reproductive activity in pigmies. Most (92%) gravid females gave birth in August. Litter size ranged from 2-12 with a mean litter size of 5.88 young. Individuals with large clutch mass gave birth earlier in the year. There was significant variation in offspring size among female. This variation was not a result of large females having larger young or offspring in small litters weighing less than offspring from large litters. Of 19 females that were captured in both the summer of 1992 and the summer of 1993, 32% never reproduced, 42% reproduced in one of the two years, and 26% reproduced in both years. Annual reproduction among some females appears due to year-round activity of pigmy rattlesnakes in central Florida.
  • Farrell TM, May PG, Pilgrim MA. 1996. Annual variation in the reproductive traits of the rattlesnake Sistrurus miliarius. Submitted to OecologiaWe determined the level of annual variation in litter size, mean offspring mass, total litter mass, and relative clutch mass in a central Florida population of pigmies. In each of four years (1992-1995) we collected at least 20 pregnant females just before they gave birth. The was no significant annual variation in the proportion of adult females that were gravid, gravid female snout-vent length, mean offspring mass, or total clutch mass. There was significant annual variation in relative clutch mass t hat resulted from annual variation in postpartum female condition (fatness). Individual pigmy rattlesnakes (at least two litters were collecting from 15 females) were very consistent from one litter to the next in offspring mass, litter size, total clutch and relative clutch mass. This individual consistency caused the unstable age distribution of gravid females to have little impact on annual means for reproductive traits. Sistrurus miliarius, and perhaps other species in warm climates that fee d while gravid, are more likely to show annual variation in relative clutch mass, and less likely to show annual variation in litter size or the proportion of adult females that reproduce than more temperate species.
  • Fleet RR, Kroll JC. 1979. Litter size and parturition behavior in Sistrurus miliarius streckeri. Herpetological Review 9:11The authors report on the litters of two gravid female pigmies. One female was caught in Sabin County Texas. It had a SVL of 32.5 cm and a gravid weight of 42 g and gave birth to 5 young on 24 August 1974. The neonates had a mean SVL of 9.6 cm. The se cond female (35.5 cm, weight 36.6 g) was captured in Nacodoches County Texas. Field observations indicated it moved little while gravid. It had 5 offspring, two of them stillborn. Mean living neonate SVL was 14.0 cm and mean weight was 2.7 g. One gravid female fed while captive. The authors discuss the birth behavior of this snake and her offspring in detail.
  • Fitch HS. 1985 Variation in clutch and litter size in new world reptiles. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 76:1-76.The author review the literature on pigmy litter size (and that of a large number of other new world reptiles). His analysis indicates that S. m. miliarius has an average of 5.3 offspring (range 3-7, n=16), S. m. barbouri has an average of 7.4 offspring (range 2-18, n=18) and S m. streckeri has a mean of 6.6 offspring (range 2-32, n=9, note how the mean is increased by one large litter). In his review, Fitch found that many reptiles have larger litter sizes at higher latitudes but this does not seem to be the case in pigmies.
  • Ford NB, Cobb VA, Lamar W. 1990. Reproductive data on snakes from northeastern Texas. Texas Journal of Science 42:355-368
  • Gloyd HK. 1940. The rattlesnakes: genera Sistrurus and Crotalus. A study in zoogeography and evolution. Special Publication of the Chicago Academy of Sciences no.4.
  • Greene HW. 1992. The ecological and behavior context for pitviper evolution. page 107-118 in Biology of the Pitvipers, Campbell JA and ED Brodie Jr. editors. Selva Press, Tyler Texas.Greene provides a highly readable and somewhat speculative account of the evolution of these cool snakes. The topics covered include foraging behavior (including caudal luring), defensive behavior (including evolution of the rattle), and the evolution o f heat-detecting facial pits. This volume is full of scientific papers that will appeal to people interested in pitvipers.
  • Holder TL. 1988. Movement and life history aspects of the pigmy rattlesnake in southwest Missouri. Unpublished M.S. thesis. Southwest Missouri State University.The author studied S. m. streckeri near its northwestern distributional limit. He is the only author to use implanted radio transmitters to study pigmies. Holder found that snout-vent length did not differ among males and females, but that males had longer tails (as in Bishop et al. 1996). Adult SVL averaged about 37.0 cm. His conclusions on movements (based on small sample sizes) were that males moved greater distances than females, and gravid females moved less than nongravid females. Mean n et distance moved per day was low for all snakes averaging about 5 meters per day. He looked at the stomach contents of 14 pigmies--they ate a ringneck snake, a red-belly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), a ground skink, a mouse, and 2 pill bugs (I suspect theses might have been ingested by a frog or lizard that the snake ate). Fecal samples included a Sceloporus and a Eumecesand a shrew or mole. Two pigmies gave birth in captivity-- one in 19 August 1986 (7 young, mean offspring length= 15.5 cm) and another on 26 April 1987 (4 young, mean length = 15.75 cm, mean weight=3.9 g). The latter female was captured in October and held at high temperatures during the winter, perhaps resulting in the odd parturition date. One female that died had seven eggs (mean length 2.25 cm, mean width = 19.5 cm). Pigmies were active from mid-April to early November.
  • Hudnall JA. 1979. Surface activity and horizontal movement in a marked population of Sistrurus miliarius. Catalog of the Maryland Herpetological Society 15:134-138The author observed movements of pigmy rattlesnakes in Palm Beach County, Florida. The study includes data on 64 pigmies, of which 16 were recaptured at least once. Snakes were active throughout the year. Snakes usually did not strike when harassed by booted foot. Snakes appeared to exhibit limited movements indicating home range formation (but this conclusion was based on a few individuals).
  • Iverson JB. 1978. Reproductive notes on Florida snakes. Florida Scientist 41:201-207Iverson reports on pigmies from central Florida (Marion and Alachua Counties). One female (43.0 cm SVL) had 7 enlarged ovarian follicles on 7 Jan 1948. A second (43.5 cm SVL) had 6 partially developed embryos on 2 July 1975. Parturition occurred on 15 July 1973 and 2 August 1973 for two other gravid females (SVL of offspring=12.2 cm).
  • Jacob JS. 1981. Population density and ecological requirements of the western pigmy rattlesnake in Tennessee. Report for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (project #E-1-2)The author documents the distribution of pigmies in Tennessee using museum records, sighting reports, and road kills. Pigmies are found primarily in the Hickman-Lewis-Lawrence County area and in Stewart County. No information on population density is given (only two live snakes were found). The snake appears very rare and its state-listing as an endangered species seems justified. Road killed individuals were usually found near riparian habitat. Gut analysis indicated that pigmies eat small mammals (Sorex, Blarina, Microtus,Reithrodontomys,, Oryzomys and lizards (one unidentified specimen). Pigmies placed in a thermal gradient had a maximum body temperature of 36 degrees C and a preferred body temperature of about 28 degrees C. Peak activity is reported to be late summer-early fall.
  • Jackson DU, Martin DL. 1980. Caudal luring in the dusky pygmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius barbouri. Copeia 1980:926-927The authors collected a gravid female which had nine offspring on 6 August 1978. They describe luring behavior with the tail when frogs were placed with the snakes. Both neonates, yearling snakes, and an adult lured. Frogs appear to be attracted to the tail movements of pigmies. The tail is undulated over the body or on the ground, unlike the vertically-held tail of some other luring pit-vipers.
  • Jemison SC, Bishop LA, May PG, Farrell TM. 1995. The impact of PIT-tags on growth and movement of the rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius. Journal of Herpetology 29:129-132The authors used a large population of previously scale-clipped pigmies to determine if PIT-tags (a relatively new unique marking technique that involves injecting small, glass encapsulated microchip transponders into study animals) influence the subseque nt growth, survival and behavior of marked snakes. The authors compared the performance of PIT-tagged snakes with control snakes. The results indicate that PIT-tagging snakes had no impact on the mean rate of movement, recapture probability, and growth rate and was therefore a good way to mark individuals.
  • Johnson TR. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, Missouri.A recent state guide that gives information on the distribution, and habitat use ("preferred habitat is south-facing, rocky and partially wooded hillsides") of pigmies. He reports the largest Missouri pigmy was 55.0 cm long.
  • Klauber, LM. 1972. Rattlesnakes: Their habits, life histories, and influence on mankind. 2nd edition. @ volumes. University of California Press, Berkeley.Klauber covers many aspects of rattlesnake biology in this huge two volume set. He lists mean size at birth (S.m.m.=16.0, S.m.b.=17.0, S.m.s.=16.5 cm), largest adult male (S.m.m.=53, S.m.b.=63, S.m.s.=63 cm), and longest individual (S.m.m.=53.5, S.m.b.=70.7, S.m.s.=63.8 cm). He found that pigmies have longer tails relative to body length than any other species of rattlesnakes (with the possible exception of Crotalus stejnegeri. By di ssecting museum specimens, he reports a mean litter size of 7.4 offspring for S. m. barbouri (n=15 litters), 6.0 offspring (n=2 litters) in S. m. miliarius and 5.75 offspring per litter in S. m. streckeri (n=4). In this book Klauber covers, at least in passing, almost all aspects of rattlesnake biology, often displaying amazing insight into these animals.
  • Knight A, Styer D, Pelikan S, Campbell JA, Densmore LD III, Mindell DP.1993. Choosing among hypotheses of rattlesnake phylogeny: a best-fit rate test for DNA sequence data. Systematic Biology 42:356-367.A recent contribution to rattlesnake systematics that used ribosomal mitochondrial RNA genes. The paper shows that Sistrurus catenatus and S. miliarius are very closely related, with S. ravus less closely related. The genus Sistrurus appears to be monophyletic. The rattlesnakes appear to have evolved recently (mid cenozoic--20-30 million years ago).
  • Lillywhite HB and Smits A. 1992. The cardiovascular adaptations of viperid snakes. page 143-154 in Biology of the Pitvipers, Campbell JA and ED Brodie Jr. editors. Selva Press, Tyler Texas.These authors discuss pitviper circulatory systems and mention the adaptive significant of key traits and how traits differ among species. While the paper is not specifically about pigmies it is an interesting paper that provides insight into pitvipers.
  • May PG, Farrell TM, Heulett ST, Pilgrim MA, Bishop LA, Spence DJ, Rabatsky AM, Campbell MG, Aycrigg AD, Richardson II WE. 1996. The seasonal abundance and activity of a rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) in central Florida. Copeia: In PressThe authors report on a three year investigation of a dense population of pigmies. In this period they made 5389 sighting of pigmies. Snakes were active throughout the year. Highest levels of abundance were in periods when flooding forced the snakes out of cover. Pigmies were found above ground in air temperature of 14-32 degrees. Snake body temperatures ranged from 15-37 degrees. Pigmies rarely fled or struck when approached. Warm pigmy rattlesnakes were more likely to strike than cool individuals. Snakes that were found coiled were less likely to strike than uncoiled individuals. Similar patterns of seasonal activity occur for both sexes. Prey capture and shedding occurred in all months of the year. There were peaks in movement in spring and fall. Thermal constraints appear to play less of a role in the ecology of this species than in more northern populations of snakes.
  • Mount RH. 1975. The Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama. Auburn Printing Company, Auburn Alabama.Mount gives information about pigmy rattlesnakes in Alabama, including that a female he had bore 6 young on August 15. He reports all three subspecies of Sistrurus miliarius living in Alabama.
  • Neill WT. 1960. The caudal lure of various snakes. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 23:173-200Neill suggests that the bright yellow tail of young pigmies might be used as a caudal lure (he was right).
  • Mitchell JC. 1994. The Reptiles of Virginia. Smithsonian Institution Press. 352 pages.The author states that pigmies don't live in Virginia (despite an early, poorly-documented record of a capture near the southern edge of the state). A wonderful regional guide (and a lot more) for a state that is, unfortunately, Sistrurus-free.
  • Palmer, WM. 1978. Sistrurus miliarius (Linnaeus) Pygmy rattlesnake. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. page 220.1.Palmer gives information in a very concise fashion on the three subspecies of pigmies, including descriptions, distribution and pertinent literature (as of the later 1970's).
  • Palmer, WM, Braswell AL. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NCThe authors present a really nice state guide with detailed information about pigmies at their northern geographical limit. Much of this information hasn't been published elsewhere. Habitat use in this state includes sandhills with pine and scrub oaks. They are also found in pine flatwoods along the coastal plain. They state that disturbed pigmies slowly wiggle their tail and twitch their heads. We have seen the same two behaviors in Florida. They authors suggest that mating occurs in the spring--we doubt this given the exclusively fall mating period in Florida. Litter size in NC ranged from 3-9 with a mean of 5.3. Mean offspring total length was 17.24 cm. Prey items include frogs, lizards, snakes, and mammals. This is the most comprehensive source of information on S. m. miliarius. It includes extensive data on diet, reproductive information, and sexual variation.
  • Palmer WM, Williamson GM. 1971. Observations on the natural history of the Carolina pigmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius Linnaeus. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Science Society 87:20-25This paper includes detailed description of the types of habitat used by pigmies in North Carolina. Habitats used includes sandhills (longleaf pine- turkey oak), pine flatwoods (longleaf pine and loblolly pine--pigmies are rather rare in this habitat), and Mixed pine-hardwood forest. Diet information includes records of one unidentified snake, a brown snake (Storeria dekayi), a narrow mouthed toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis), and a leopard frog. In captivity the pigmies ate several species of lizards, snakes, and frogs. All neonates shed their skins within two days of their birth. Females in North Carolina appear to give birth from early August through mid September. Litter sizes of recently captured females ranged were nine offspring (n=1), seven offspring (n=1), six offspring (n=2), five offspring (n=9), and four offspring (n=3). The average for these 16 litters was 5.3 offspring. The authors also describe a combat dance observed among two captive males in the presence females in October.
  • Rabatsky AM, and Farrell, TM. 1996. The effects of age and light level on foraging posture and frequency of caudal luring in the rattlesnake Sistrurus miliarius barbouri. Submitted to Journal of HerpetologyWe studied a field population of individually marked pigmies that were of known ages. We a snake was found it posture was noted, specifically was the tail visible or under its coils. Snakes less than one year old had their tails exposed significantly mo re frequently than older snakes; results consistent with the idea that pigmies lure less frequently as they age. If the tail was visible, we noted if tail tip was near the head, along the side of the coil or in the back of the coil behind the head. Pigmies were more likely to hold their tail in back of the coil than was expected by random chance. An experiment with captive pigmies showed they were equally likely to lure at several different light levels (ranging from full sunlight to the darkness of night).
  • Reinert, HK, Cundall D and Bushar LM. 1984. Foraging behavior of the timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus. Copeia 1984:976-981.A classic paper in which the authors used radiotelemetry to track timber rattlesnakes in Pennsylvania. This paper give insight into foraging behavior of rattlesnakes. Interestingly, pigmies use some of the same foraging postures as timber rattlesnakes despite their much smaller body size.
  • Reinert HK. 1992. Radiotelemetric field studies of pitvipers: data acquisition and analysis. pages 185-198 in Biology of the Pitvipers, Campbell JA and ED Brodie Jr. editors. Selva Press, Tyler Texas. A short article that covers the basics of radiotelemetry in pitvipers.
  • Sabath M, Worthington R. 1959. Eggs and young of certain Texas reptiles. Herpetologica 15:31-32The authors report that a 29.7 cm SVL pigmy captured in Montgomery County gave birth to 5 offspring on 31 July 1958. Average SVL of the young was 12.0 cm.
  • Snellings, E. Jr., Collins, J.T. 1996. Sistrurus miliarius barbouri (dusky pigmy rattlesnake). maximum size. Herpetological Review 27:84.The authors report on the largest known pigmy rattlesnake. It was caught as an adult with a total length of about 64 cm. The snake was a male caught in Osceola County, Florida. It was held in captivity for 13 years and at death had a SVL of 73.8 cm and a tail length of 9.4 cm. It weighed 658 grams
  • Stille, B. 1987. Dorsal scale microdermatoglyphics and rattlesnake (Crotalus and Sistrurus) phylogeny (Reptilia: Viperidae: Crotalinae). Herpetologica 1987:98-104The author uses microscopic scale characteristics to generate a phylogenetic hypothesis for the rattlesnakes. Surprisingly, his results indicate the Sistrurus miliarius is not closely related to the massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus). His results are not consistent with those of Knight et al. (1993) who used molecular data to generate a phylogeny of the rattlesnakes. The Stille paper probably has more to say about the utility of dermal scale traits in systematics than it reveals about rattlesnake phylogeny.
  • Trauth SE, Cox RL, Meshaka WE, Butterfield BP, Holt A. Female reproductive traits in selected Arkansas snakes. Proceedings of the Arkansas Academy of Science 48:196-209The authors discuss reproductive traits of western pigmy rattlesnakes by dissecting snakes and looking for ovarian follicles and oviductal eggs. They found an average litter size of 10.0 offspring. Litter size ranged from 6-14 (n=8 adult females). One gravid female was 42 cm in SVL, another was 33.8 cm SVL. One female gave birth on 9 September 1988.
  • Witz BW, Wilson DS, Palmer MD. 1991. Distribution of Gopherus polyphemus and its vertebrate symbionts in three burrow categories. American Midland Naturalist 126:152-158.The authors dug up tortoises west-central Florida (Hernando County) in a sandhill habitat (turkey oak, blue-jack oak, sand live oak, and longleaf pine were the dominant trees). 1019 burrows were excavated. Fifty snakes were found, the most common species (with 5 individuals) was Sistrurus miliarius. Pigmies were more common in tortoise occupied burrows than in unoccupied burrows. The burrows were excavated in the summer--it would be interesting to know if pigmies use burrows more frequently in the winter months.